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Bust

A bust is a form of sculpture modelled on person’s head, neck and part of the chest and shoulders. As a portrait type, it dates back to classical Greek and Roman antiquity although it can also be found in non-European ancient cultures.

Busts come in many materials including bronze, terracotta, wood, wax and marble. In the UK, they were particularly popular in the 18th and 19th century with the best Georgian and Victorian examples of well known figures continuing to command strong interest among collectors as well as museums.


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Pioneer pilot Peggy gives a saleroom lift

25 June 2018

Less well-known than other daring young women in their flying machines, Peggy Salaman, or rather a bronze bust of her, emerged from a Mayfair basement to take off in a Suffolk saleroom.

‘Bust of Peace’, a white marble head by Antonio Canova

Long-lost Antonio Canova bust emerges at Sotheby’s

30 May 2018

One of the few autograph works ever to have emerged at auction by the neo-classical sculptor Antonio Canova (1757-1821) will be offered at Sotheby’s in London this summer.

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Philosopher Wittgenstein shows sculpture skills

04 December 2017

A philosopher of mathematics, the human consciousness and language, Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was described by his teacher Bertrand Russell as “the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived”.

Victoria bust

Government issues export bar for £1.2m Queen Victoria sculpture in hope of finding UK buyer

08 September 2017

A sculpture of Queen Victoria by Alfred Gilbert has been temporarily barred from leaving the country while the government searches for a buyer based in the UK to pay the £1.2m asking price.

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Preview: £30,000 plus

19 June 2017

ATG's weekly selection of items on sale at auctions and dealerships.

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Saint's son portrait bust heads Basel sale

05 June 2017

Bailly et Beuret’s next auction series takes place in the Swiss city on June 21. On offer are over 460 lots divided between four catalogues and covering works from the 14th to 19th centuries, Swiss and contemporary art.

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Czech sculptor with right royal connections

15 May 2017

Bronze busts of the Queen and Prince Philip from the Oxfordshire studio of Czech émigré sculptor Franta Belsky (1921-2000) took top honours at Mallams (20% buyer’s premium) in Oxford on April 25.

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Nazi looted Houdon bust returns to Poland

20 November 2015

A late 18th century bust of the Goddess Diana which was looted from the Royal Lazienki Palace in Warsaw by the Nazis has been returned to Poland after emerging at auction in Vienna.

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Where did you get that €1.5m hat?

26 November 2014

Arguably the most famous historic figure in French history and a princely provenance proved an irresistible combination earlier this month in France when a collection of Napoleonic memorabilia formed by the Grimaldi dynasty of Monaco went under the hammer.

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Claudel launches new home for Paris étude

12 November 2014

Piasa are not the only Paris étude to have moved to new premises this autumn. Cornette de Saint Cyr have now opened their new saleroom in a 19th century hôtel particulier on the avenue Hoche near the Parc Monceau.

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€900,000 – the price on emperor’s head

20 May 2014

An ancient Roman marble bust of the Emperor Hadrian that had been in the same private collection for over half a century was the runaway highlight in a recent sale held by Tessier Sarrou & Associés at Drouot in Paris.

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Bust of Baron Vivian in Cornwall

29 August 2012

This large 19th century cast-iron bust of a gentleman is believed to be Richard Hussey Vivian (1775-1842), the 1st Baron Vivian, famed for his distinguished military career which included leading Lord Uxbridge’s cavalry charge at Waterloo.

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£2.5m bust heads a rare feast of sculpture in Paris

20 July 2012

This summer’s ‘Temps Fort’ sales in the French capital have thrown up an usually strong contingent of sculpture.

Burglary at Iron Duke’s house

09 July 2012

Paintings and smaller works of art dating back to the time the first Duke of Wellington moved into the house given to him by a grateful nation have been stolen.

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Marble bust stolen from Kent church

07 March 2011

THIS marble portrait bust of Ann Borrett by the 18th century sculptor Henry Cheere was stolen from the Church of St Peter and St Paul in Shoreham, Kent at the end of January.

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£33.5m record for Modigliani and for France

21 June 2010

IT may have been an exceptional piece that generated an equally exceptional level of presale interest but, even still, few people present at Christie's Paris for the sale of Amedeo Modigliai's (1884-1920) Tête were expecting it to become the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction in France.

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Thief takes sculptor’s show entry

07 April 2008

THIS lifesize bust of the actor Charles Dance has been stolen from a car only days before it was due to be entered for exhibition.

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Double Dux – the gaze and the glaze

24 April 2006

MUSSOLINI’s son-in-law and foreign minister, Count Galeazzo Ciano, would have done well to heed the imagery of this black glazed terracotta head when another version of it came into his possession.

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Medieval ivory of Arthur’s knights sells for a king’s ransom

13 April 2005

IT was a matter of success breeding success for Oxfordshire auctioneers Holloway’s in March. Late last year they sold an 18th century ivory bust, possibly of Handel, for £29,000, and when the owner of a tiny medieval ivory panel read of it in ATG No 1671, January 8, he decided to offer it in the Banbury rooms.

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Chorus of approval for £29,000 ‘Handel’ bust

04 January 2005

A more academic ivory carving than anything at Kidson-Trigg’s sale was this unsigned but fine quality 6 3/4in (17.5cm) portrait bust, right, offered at the Banbury rooms of Holloways (15% buyer’s premium) on November 30.